I’m not going to lie… I read this before you. It’s one of the perks of the job, but it didn’t change my excitement for Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano’s love letter to the Justice League. The premise in a way, is what if the DC’s famous group of superheroes will killed off one by one? Ten members make up the elite superhero team The Alliance and now they’re trapped on an island trying to outsmart Oxymoron, who in my opinion is one of the best homage to the Joker ever.
The issue opens with Crimson and Red on a past case up against Oxymoron. They’re being lead into a trap in order to rescue some kids on Thanksgiving Day. They of course have a note from with clues from Oxy as they stand outside of the closed down amusement park. Red pressures Crimson into thinking of where they would be so that they’re not left searching the entire park. Crimson comes up with the answer and sure enough they make out the screams of children. They find them trapped on a spinning ride, but the floor is filled with acid. In his haste Crimson nearly turns off the machine, but Red catches him and they naturalize the acid before shutting it off and beginning their rescue of the kids. Too bad Oxy’s acid has turned into a sleeping gas with the mixture of their base.
Back in the South Pacific, The Alliance is standing on the beach shore trying to figure out what they should do next now that their transportation has been killed. Crimson continues to tell the team that they’re underestimating Oxy’s trap and they basically tell him to shut up because he’s no longer an official member of the team, but Justice America does finally agree with him that they cannot simply leave the island the way things are.
As everyone heads back inside Mazu calls for her water spirits to make sure that they’re close by and can protect her. We’re then given her backstory as a child all the way up to present day. Inside they find blood on Master Mage’s statue. They begin investigating when a set of stairs opens in the floor. To make up for his coward like nature, Throttle ran through and touched everything he could until finding it. Once down the stairs they make the discovery that Crimson was right and that there is a lot more going on as they sit down behind a control panel with video footage of the entire island.
Where do I even begin with talking about the writing for this story? James has done a fantastic job of creating a world that while inspired by the Justice League, has become something all its own. As James has said on our own podcast its Agatha Christine meets the JLA (not his exact words), but because it’s not a corporate book it’s able to be so much more. James does a fantastic job of building Crimson’s and Red’s character in the past while pushing the plot forward. The trend seems to be that after each character’s past is revealed they become the next target in the story so look for Mazu to get the axe next.
The art is great and continues to improve with each issue. It’s awesome to see a creator develop on a series and for that to actually benefit the series. Feliciano is forced to draw a wide range of settings from the amusement park to the tropical island. There are some dead scenes in which most of the characters are just standing around, but I think that’s become the norm of any team book not written by Bendis (in which case everyone would be talking and you would stop paying attention). The flashback section with Mazu was handled excellently as the coloring and style changed to more of an Asian storybook style with a water color look. It was a great addition to the story as it was beautiful and storybook looking, but actually had a very dark secret hidden within.
We’ve kind of been off the review train for this series as it was relaunched through Diamond, but we’re back and looking forward to supplying you monthly reviews of the series. If you want to hear more about The Red Ten, then check out our special episode of the podcast where Kevin and I talk to creator and writer Tyler James. Also we’ll have a review for the #0 issue this Friday just in time for Free Comic Book Day where you’ll be able to grab your copy from participating retailers. If you missed out on this series then definitely go back and pick up the first two issues as it is much, much more than a simple homage to the JL. The fact is, JL wishes it was this good… or maybe I wish that it was, either way this is a great series.
Writer: Tyler James
Artist: Cesar Feliciano
Release Date: 5/1/13